The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Falls

    12
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Beaten

    3
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Groped

    2
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Burns

    4
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1